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Clipr: a low-fuss OS X pasting utility

Erica Sadun, @ericasadun
August 15, 2013
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Clipr (free, US$0.99 cloud sync IAP) offers a tiny, low-fuss utility that targets anyone looking for a fast, low-footprint solution for OS X clipboard management. Developer Eric Mann tells TUAW that he wrote the app in response to other clipboard utilities on the market.

"My computer needs to run as fast as possible," he explained. "It needs to have nothing else bogging it down. There's a bunch of clipboard managers out there, but they do too much in the sense that every time you copy an image or video, it copies all that into RAM. After an hour or two, OS X's Activity Manager shows the clipboard apps rising to the top of the list. It's frustrating, so I wanted to re-think the clipboard manager."

Even at version 2.0, Clipr remains a bit of a work in progress. It consists of three components: an OS X menu bar app, which constantly monitors clipboard changes on your behalf; a web-based server that offers clipboard-history mirroring no matter where you are; and an upcoming iOS 7 app that will passively monitor and collect clipboard saves on your phone. A useful desktop feature lets you text out your clippings by SMS.

I tested a custom-built version of the app that enabled me to test it with what's normally IAP-only cloud access. The Mac-to-cloud component offers passive, encrypted sync. As you copy items, they migrate to your web-based CliprApp website account.

"From our end," Mann said, "we only see an encrypted database. We can see the number of things you store with us, but not their content. It's completely encrypted just like passwords. You might copy bank account info, credit card info, and we don't see it. We didn't want that to be a question. Your plain text will never show up in a Google search. The data's completely behind a user-authentication system."

The CliprApp website allows you to review your clipboard history, no matter where you are. You set the synching email address in app preferences. At this time, you do not enter a password for that account, which I think is a bit of a security risk. Someone who guesses your email address can easily spam your account. It's a send-only hole, however. No one can read that data without your full credentials.

In my tests, Clipr worked fast and reliably with very little system demands. I kept Activity Monitor open to keep an eye on system memory and CPU overhead. I appreciated settings that let me control how many items to keep in memory, and whether to launch the app automatically at login.

Mann is working hard on improving the product and getting the iOS 7 app ready for market.

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